The Importance of Emergency Care


What is an Emergency Care System?

Emergency Care is described in the following World Health Organization (WHO) infographic.


When someone suffers an injury or a sudden illness – an emergency – at home, work or leisure, their initial health outcome relies on an integrated approach to recognition and treatment.

Quality emergency medical care prevents or reduces the otherwise devastating impacts of road trauma, sepsis, stroke, heart attack, acute complications of pregnancy and childbirth, and many childhood infections. Over half the deaths in low and middle-income countries could be avoided by effective immediate interventions on scene, organized and safe transport to a hospital with an emergency care unit; followed by a skilled assessment, stabilisation, and diagnosis.


The importance of emergency care to global health systems

Well organized emergency care is recognized as among the most cost-effective public health interventions. This is as true on a daily basis as well as in times of disaster or pandemic, such as COVID19. Quite simply, effective emergency care delivered by properly trained staff saves lives, improves the effectiveness of other parts of the health system, and reduces costs across all settings of high, middle, and low-income countries.

Recognizing this importance to strong health systems, the WHO in its 2007 World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolution 60.22 ‘Health Systems: Emergency Care Systems’ called for all countries to develop effective emergency care systems. More recently in 2019, WHA 72.16 ‘Emergency care systems for universal health coverage: ensuring timely care for the acutely ill and injured’ placed Emergency Medicine as a core specialty within any healthcare system.


IFEM has an important role to play in the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals:


IFEM’s role in advancing emergency healthcare systems

Emergency Physicians and other emergency medical care workers are integral to building emergency healthcare systems. IFEM provides a global community of practice and shared expertise developed by emergency physicians from all regions of the world. In this regard, IFEM is the sole provider of professional development and expertise in emergency medicine at global level. IFEM has a strong advocacy role with governments, global health organizations and communities.